MOOCs a balance of “credentialing” and “educating”

December 11, 2013

A MOOC professor for Northwestern University, pondering the importance of credentials in demonstrating learning, decided to ask his students what they think their completed course will mean for their prospects. Out of the 1,196 students in 87 countries who received a "statement of accomplishment" on Owen Youngman’s Coursera course, 800 students responded to his post-course survey. 73% of respondents said "I plan on listing my participation in a résumé, CV, or online profile." When collecting qualitative responses on the subject on a discussion board, students expressed mixed responses. “As an employer, I would not recruit anyone based on MOOC certificates, but I would accept that someone who has them has a genuine interest in further education," said one student. "Work is scarce and every little bit helps, so that's the main reason I'm focusing on getting a certificate. The efforts are the same, but the proof of them will help me along," said another. Youngman concludes that students themselves see value in "discipline and diligence" gained from MOOCs, and asks rhetorically whether employers will see that value as well. “[It’s] a balance of "credentialing" and "educating" that I am happy to embrace,” says Youngman. Chronicle of Higher Education